After the Migraine
Erica Goss

After the Migraine

Spread between
trees, webs shimmer
like the auras that float
across my vision.
Spiders exit outgrown
skins, leave crisp
exoskeletons all over
the garden. Once
I left a too-small house
in a too-small town,
stretched my limbs
in the damp fresh air,
the memory of pain still
delicate, like the outer edge
of a spider web fraying
in the autumn wind.

Too long, I’d believed
that anything at all,
no matter how
hopeless, could be

put to right. Fine
as silk, my illusions
billowed around me.
Now the branches
are hung with the bodies
of stunned flies,
wrapped and waiting,
and the road that brought
me here splits into exits.
Long after the pain
subsides, stars appear
when I close my eyes.

Erica Goss

is the winner of the 2019 Zocalo Poetry Prize. Her collection, Night Court, won the 2017 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press. Her recent and upcoming publications include Creative Nonfiction, North Dakota Quarterly, Consequence, and San Pedro River Review. She is the founder of Girls' Voices Matter, a filmmaking workshop for teen girls, and is the editor of the newsletter Sticks & Stones.